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The Story Behind the Statistics

- By Nefeli Forni

Cherry by Nico Walker (Knopf, 2018)

Last year the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the NIH declared that 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids every day. Multiples more overdose and survive, as did the narrator of Cherry, a ferocious and exhilarating, typewritten-from-prison debut novel by Nico Walker. Told in the first person by a nameless young man, the narrative charts his course through a constellation of crises afflicting contemporary life in the U.S., crises that threaten to erase his story entirely, folding it into yet another austere NIH statistic. Like nearly three million others since the declaration of the U.S. War...



Reviews

Making Queer Worlds

- By Subhalakshmi Gooptu

The World That Belongs To Us: An Anthology of Queer Poetry from South Asia, edited by Aditi Angiras and Akhil Katyal (Harper Collins, 2020)

"They say This world isn’t for you
Why then was I born into it, if it wasn’t for me."

These lines hit you like a gust of unforgiving wind. Almost two-thirds through the book, editors Aditi Angiras and Akhil Katyal have tricked you. Lulled with poems of joy, resistance, freedom, love and escape, you flip through pages quickly, looking for more. But some poems stop you in your track. To startle you. Phurbu Tashi’s “This World Isn’t For You”...


Reviews

"The Past Hovers Like Smoke": John Balaban's Empire

- By Lorrie Goldensohn

Empires by John Balaban (Copper Canyon Press 2019)

In a John Balaban poem, random acts of both kindness and destruction happen in profusion, but what they fall upon is never nameless. A resourceful diction—plus a wry, casual mastery of metaphor—nail the scene. From “Cibolero”: “the rain, dropping its dark curtains…” From the poem “At Nora’s House,” herring run “inside the green lung of the recoiling wave.” But in “Christmas Eve at Washington’s Crossing,” the poet needed as much nerve and determination to lift this old warhorse of a subject into fresh poetry as the general took in crossing...


Reviews

A Gaucho Novel for the Twenty-First Century

- By Manuela Borzone

The Adventures of China Iron by  Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, Translated by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre (Charco Press, 2020)

Back in February, the International Booker Prize, which recognizes the best novel translated into English published in the UK or Ireland, announced its longlist of novels competing for this year’s award. The list included The Adventures of China Iron, written by the Argentinian Gabriela Cabezón Cámara in 2016 and translated by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre. In April, as the world came to a grinding halt, The Adventures made it onto...


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